To What Extent is your Company Different from the Competition?
This topic is something that comes up quite often in conversations with our clients. These days, it’s difficult to really nail those value props and unique distinctions that set small to mid-sized businesses apart. Unless you are going after a Blue Ocean opportunity, it is likely that you are running into a challenging scenario that lumps you into the rest of the crowd. Sure, your customers say you are the best and that you are different. However, when a new prospect asks you “What makes your company different?”, are you equipped with the right ammo to say without hesitation: “I’m glad you asked! Here is how we are different!…”.
Testing is the Key
There have been so many times where I ask this question and the person I am talking to rambles off a list of stuff that in the back of mind I know are not distictive value props or differentiators. Of course, I don’t want to hurt anyones feelings, but I do want the team to be able to rip off a few phrases that really hit the mark. So, I ask them a few simple questions that usually stirs up more conversation: “Do you think that this list you have provided is different from XYZ competitor?”, “Can you check the competitions web site to see if they say the same thing?”, and “How do you know that this is different and that your prospects aren’t hearing the same thing from other companies?”.
So, for those companies that do not take the time to really nail down points of distinction, it’s time that you do. The way the business world operates today, most products and services end up getting lumped as a commodity when there is little differentiation. If you are in this type of red ocean market, you need to think hard about how to differentiate.
If you would like to try a simple baseline exercise to figure this out, you can download echogravity’s Company Differentiation exercise worksheet. It will get you thinking!